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Associated Press, Published October 17 2013

Court asked to toss Minnesota man's murder conviction

ST. PAUL — The attorney for a Minnesota man convicted of killing his wife, whose body was found in the Mississippi River months after she disappeared, wants a judge to dismiss his client's murder conviction.

Jeffery Trevino's attorney claims an insufficient legal basis for the jury's verdict of unintentional second-degree murder this month.

Trevino was convicted Oct. 2 of killing his wife, 30-year-old Kira Steger, after a two-week trial. His attorney, John Conard, filed a motion Wednesday arguing that Trevino should be acquitted because the injuries to Steger rose only to the level of third-degree assault, not murder, the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/19bXR8O) reported.

Prosecutors told jurors that Trevino killed Steger because she was having an affair and wanted to leave their marriage.

Steger was last seen alive having dinner with Trevino at the Mall of America in Bloomington on Feb. 21. Her body was recovered from the Mississippi in May.

Conard wrote in his motion that Steger's broken finger was a third-degree assault that did not support the murder conviction and that there was no evidence that her death resulted from "the other serious injury," a cut above Steger's left eyebrow.

Conard did not address Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Richard Dusterhoft's assertion at trial that Trevino likely smothered Steger with a pillow that was found in a plastic bag with her DNA and presumptive blood on it.

Dr. Michael McGee, the Ramsey County medical examiner, testified at trial that Steger's injuries show she was likely smothered by a pillow or hand, in addition to being cut above the eyebrow and having her left index finger snapped.

Conard had asked the court to dismiss the charges against Trevino on the last day of testimony, saying that prosecutors hadn't proven their case. The jury acquitted Trevino of second-degree intentional murder.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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